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Appeals court orders settlement unsealed in high-profile injury case

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  1. Court Access
A New Jersey appeals court ruled Wednesday that settlement documents sought by the watchdog group Public Citizen in a personal…

A New Jersey appeals court ruled Wednesday that settlement documents sought by the watchdog group Public Citizen in a personal injury case must be unsealedThe (Newark) Star-Ledger reported.

The settlement capped a 1999 case in which Antonia Verni, then a toddler, was paralyzed when a drunken driver leaving a Giants football game struck her family’s car. All told, the girl is set to receive about $25 million from the vendor who allegedly kept serving the driver at the game even after he was drunk, and from the NFL and others.

A lower court order in 2007 sealed the settlement and other documents associated with the case. Public Citizen argued at the appellate level that the girl’s privacy interest did not outweigh the public’s right to know what goes on in court. A three-judge panel considered the issue and came down in favor of transparency.